Is It Better To Paint Walls or Trim First?

If you’re planning your next painting project, you may be excitedly prepared with the perfect paint color and tools but suddenly get stopped in your tracks when it comes time to get started. You ask yourself the million-dollar question: Is it better to paint walls or trim first? This is a common question in the painting world and one that often doesn’t have a definitive answer. However, with our experience in the professional painting industry, we’re letting you in on the pros of each and what we believe is the best order to paint walls and trim. Read on to learn the answer so you can take on your next painting project with confidence!


Is it Better to Paint Walls or Trim First?

In our experience, we’ve seen the painting process done both ways by painters who have been in the profession for many years. Everyone has their own process and what they are comfortable with, leaving the ultimate answer up to the individual with the paint tools in hand. 


Someone who is very detail oriented and great with handy work may paint the trim first and then the walls, relying on the painter’s tape to protect the trim. Others prefer to tackle the largest area first so they don’t have to worry about paint splattering on the trim, as it will be painted over next. 


If you are going to spray trim paint, that is typically done first before painting the wall. However, if you are going to be brushing trim paint, you can decide what you’re more comfortable with. 


Pros of Painting Trim First


Personally, I like to paint trim first. Since it is a hard, smooth enamel, the paint will dry hard and allow the tape to go on smoothly on top without damaging any of the hard work you’ve done from painting the wall. You can read more about the best paint finish for interior trim here


If you use frog tape on the trim, I recommend using a wet rag to activate the paint blocker and seal the edge before painting. 


If you use blue tape, you can either run a quick line of trim paint along the tape or a bead of caulk along the edge so that the wall paint doesn’t penetrate through the tape and bleed onto the trim. 


Both of these methods for painting trim will cut down on the amount of re-cuts and touch-ups you end up having to do once you peel the tape away. 


If you have an extremely steady hand, you may be able to paint a super straight line by brushing the trim paint into the freshly painted wall without using any tape at all. However, if you’re like me, your hand isn’t that steady and using tape of some sort is a must. 


Pros of Painting Walls First


If you are an inexperienced painter and your main goal is efficiency, you may prefer to paint the walls first, as you can go in with long roller strokes and not worry as much about paint splatters. In order to reduce the amount of cutting in, (AKA, using a paintbrush to paint tight corners and sections against the trim), paint all the way up to the trim with your roller when painting the wall. 


Painting the walls first also allows for more precise edging, as you can tape off the edges of the walls and paint right up to the trim without worrying about getting paint on it.


Another pro of painting the walls first is that you’ll gain confidence and have an immediate sense of gratification and excitement when you see the larger wall painted. After painting the wall, it feels less daunting to finish out the project with the smaller trim painting. 


In conclusion, whether you paint trim or the wall first depends on your personal preferences, your skill level, and the specifics of your painting project. If you’re looking for a neater finish and don’t mind putting in a little extra time and effort, painting the trim first may be the way to go. On the other hand, if you want to knock out a larger portion of your project right away and worry a bit less about paint splattering while getting precise edging, painting the walls first may be a better option.


No matter which option you choose, the key to achieving the best paint job possible is taking the time and effort to invest in high-quality paint products and supplies and priming the wall for the best results. It’s so important that you DON’T skip the priming step!


If you’re not up for DIYing your paint job and would rather hire a professional to come in and get the job done quickly, efficiently, and with the highest quality, we’d love to partner with you to bring your vision to life. No more worrying about whether to paint trim or the walls first. We’ll come in and get the job done right! You can book a free quote with our team here

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